Studying abroad in Iceland can offer Pakistani students a unique and enriching educational experience. Iceland is known for its breathtaking natural landscapes, rich culture, and innovative spirit.
Iceland – A Bird’s Eye View
An island country, located in the North Atlantic Ocean, Iceland is geographically a secluded region. Its nearest European neighbor is Scotland, lying some 500 miles away from it. Reykjavík, the capital and the largest city, enjoys the status of the commercial and industrial center of Iceland.
Known as the land of ice and fire, Iceland is home to many volcanoes. The climate here is usually cold although some variations in its southern and northern parts do exist. It’s mostly chilly out there, so the only months to enjoy the scenic beauty of this country are May and August. Otherwise, daylight is a miracle on winter days.
Standard of Living
Its currency value isn’t going to surprise you one bit. One Icelandic Krona equals 1.18 Pakistani rupees. But don’t be too quick to judge. Living here will cost you more than other affluent European states. For an average resident, about 350 to 400 Euros/month is the closing cost and this does not include food. So, saving is your only option.
Status of English Language
First and foremost, Iceland has a very limited number of English language speakers. Almost 93% of the population speaks Icelandic. That makes our students applying for their universities a bit worried and dubious about their decision. But you need not fret. Icelandic schools teach English as a compulsory subject.
While most of the universities offer undergraduate programs in Icelandic, there are a few which provide graduate programs in English as well.
Higher Education Institutes in Iceland
There are seven nationally recognized universities in the state. According to international ranking, The University of Iceland stands at rank 251 while Reykjavik University is ranked 350. You’d be surprised that only three universities offer Ph.D. courses in Iceland:
- University of Iceland
- Reykjavík University
- The Agriculture University of Iceland
The seven institutes, as mentioned earlier, welcome international students every year. Around 5% of the 18,000 students enrolled in Icelandic universities as international students. So the ratio is pretty convincing.
We have amazing news for you. State universities offer free education in Iceland. You just need to pay the registration fee that reaches US$470 or 75000 ISK. Private sector universities, however, will charge a pretty costly sum for tuition and registration if you’re a non-EU student.
Some students can also enjoy extra perks if they go on an exchange program. To get more information about these programs, visit the official websites of these universities, and search for exchange programs there!
If you are a Pakistani student interested in studying in Iceland, you will need to apply for a student visa. Here are the general visa requirements for Pakistani students:
- Admission to an Icelandic university: You must have been accepted to a recognized Icelandic university and have proof of enrollment.
- Sufficient financial means: You must be able to provide evidence of sufficient financial means to support yourself while studying in Iceland. This can include bank statements, scholarship awards, or proof of financial sponsorship.
- Health insurance: You must have valid health insurance coverage while studying in Iceland.
- Accommodation: You must have proof of accommodation arrangements in Iceland, such as a rental agreement or a confirmation letter from the university.
- Valid passport: You must have a valid Pakistani passport that does not expire before the end of your studies in Iceland.
- Language proficiency: Depending on the language of instruction of your program, you may need to provide proof of language proficiency in Icelandic or English.
- Visa application form: You will need to complete a visa application form and provide all required documents. You can obtain the visa application form from the Icelandic embassy in Pakistan.
Structure of Education
Bachelor’s degree comprises of three to four years as is the case in our own country. But that’s not good enough. Students will not be able to get a respectable and suitable job after merely getting a bachelor’s degree. Except for BS Nursing, these basic degrees aren’t going to get you anywhere. Students will further pursue master’s degrees [roharm, after which they’ll be part of the labor market.
Students are evaluated through written, oral and practical examinations. Much like the Pakistani system, assignments, projects, and assessments are conducted throughout the academic year to ensure quality education. To maintain one standard of evaluation in the entire state, ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) works in Iceland. Study credits are calculated through this system.
One year of full-time study provides 60 credits while one semester of full-time study gives 30 credits.
Scholarships for Pakistani Students
Icelandic government knows how to build social and economic ties with the world. It offers wholesome scholarships covering the academic, residential, and living expenses of the international students through various scholarships.
These scholarships can be obtained in two ways: individual educational institutions and the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture.
These grants are mainly aimed at raising awareness about the rich history, culture, and languages of Iceland, isolated from the international view.
Accommodation for International Students
Let’s discuss some prerequisites to finding suitable accommodation in Iceland. International students must acquire a residence permit to live in Iceland while they study there. The permits are only issued to students aged more than 18 years who plan to study at a university level.
The permits vary in their validity of time. Students enrolled in bachelor’s and master’s courses get a permit valid for six months, or for one semester at a time. Students enrolled in doctoral courses can use the permit for one year. After this time frame, they need to regularly renew their permits to maintain a residence in Iceland.
Once the residence permit has been acquired, the next step is applying to the Icelandic Student Services (Félagsstofnun students) for housing. This nationwide service provides apartments or flats to the students, by keeping in mind their preference and feasibility.
Students acquire their work permits only if they possess a valid residence permit. Iceland isn’t as generous as its neighboring countries when it comes to students taking part-time jobs. Students are allowed to work during their study programs but not for an unlimited time.
The work percentile of an international non-EU student cannot exceed 40% of his/her time during the study program. But during school vacations or vocational training, the limit is made flexible to benefit the students.
Overall, Iceland is a favorable country for aspiring students. If you wish to introduce yourself and your abilities to the international market, then we’d recommend the Icelandic universities.